An exploration of the experiences of non-Aboriginal teachers integrating Aboriginal perspectives into the Manitoba social studies curriculum

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Zurzolo, Cara
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This study explores the experiences of non-Aboriginal teachers who are currently in the process of integrating Aboriginal perspectives into the social studies curriculum in Manitoba schools. This research aims to richly describe and understand the experiences of teachers, and then examines that description of experience through a theoretical lens that respects a commitment to social justice and advocacy for students and teachers. Two theoretical lenses by Banks (2001): namely the four approaches to multicultural curricular reform and the four characteristics of effective multicultural teachers were used to analyze the data. The research consists of the first-person accounts of teachers reflecting on their experiences (structural, curricular, relational and personal), their identity (personal and professional), and their perceptions and attitudes on such matters as equity, social justice and integrating Aboriginal perspectives during two semi-structured interviews. The research specifically highlighted teachers' pedagogical resources (structural, curricular, relational and personal) and the challenges that subverted or submerged their attempts to integrate Aboriginal perspectives successfully in their classrooms. This research attempts to understand the teaching experience and what it is to integrate Aboriginal perspectives and what it means for a non-aboriginal teacher. This information was used to develop a working definition of what it means to integrate Aboriginal perspectives and provided a starting point to interpret this experience.